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German brands off to strong start in 2011

Fri, 06 May 2011

Robust U.S. car sales this year are helping drive German automakers to significant gains.

The Volkswagen division did especially well in April, with 28,542 vehicles sold--a 23 percent increase from the year before. VW division sales are up 17 percent for 2011 so far.

The restyled Jetta, released in February, was a big contributor. Jetta sales were up 74 percent for April and 63 percent for the year to date.

VW spokesman Mark Gillies said other new models in the showroom also helped boost the numbers. For instance, Touareg sales jumped 63 percent last month and 43 percent for the year so far.

The Tiguan spiked 48 percent in sales from last April and 26 percent for the year so far, and the CC posted a 40 percent April sales increase and a 22 percent increase for 2011 to date.

VW said it hopes to continue picking up steam when it starts U.S. production of the redesigned Passat later this year at its new plant in Tennessee. Jetta said it doesn't yet have estimates on numbers for production

Among other German brands with notable sales increases this year, Porsche sales spiked 82 percent from last April. The redesigned Cayenne is reeling in buyers, and lease pull-ahead deals are a big incentive at the moment.

Porsche sold 3,172 vehicles last month, compared with 1,747 the year before. For the year to date, sales are up 46 percent.

An upward movement in sales for the BMW division is also worth keeping an eye on, as numbers rose 12 percent so far this year and 9 percent for the month of April.

By Michelle Koueiter